La Scena Musicale

Friday, 27 March 2015

Elliot Madore at Music Toronto (Review)

Elliot Madore Impressive in Hometown Recital (Review)

~ Joseph So

Baritone Elliot Madore and Pianist Rachel Andrist (Photo: Joseph So)

Schumann:  Liederkreis, Op. 39
          In der Fremde
          Die Stille
          Schone Fremde
          Auf einer Burg
          In der Fremde
          Im Walde

Poulenc:  Banalites FP107
          Chanson d'Orkenise
          Fagnes de Wallonie
          Voyage a Paris

Ives : The Circus Band
          Ich grolle nicht
          The Side Show
          Tom Sails Away

Encores:  Deh vieni alla finestra from Don Giovanni (Mozart)
                Chanson a boire from Don Quichotte a Dulcinee (Ravel)

Elliot Madore, baritone
Rachel Andrist, piano

Music Toronto / Jane Mallett Theatre / Thursday March 26th 8 pm 2015

One of my favourite concert presenters is Music Toronto, an organization dedicated to promoting chamber music in our city.  It was at Music Toronto that I first heard Marc Andre Hamelin and Simon Trpceski, among others.  And I've also heard plenty of singers over the years, singers who for whatever reason don't sing here often eough. This year, Music Toronto is bringing to town baritone Elliot Madore. Actually, he is a Toronto native, where he grew up in the western suburb of Etobicoke.  I daresay most voice fans in Toronto have not heard him in person, for the simple reason that his career is almost exclusively outside Canada.  Madore studied voice at Curtis Institute, won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 2010, subsequently became a member of the Lindemann Young Artists Program, sang at Tanglewood under James Levine, and then went on to Europe to build his career. At the time of his Met Auditions win, I interviewed him for an article in La Scena Musicale -   Since that time, Madore's career has gone on a remarkable trajectory. He received great notices in The Enchanted Island at the Met, made his debut at Glyndebourne in L'heure espagnole / L'enfant et les Sortileges, and last summer, he sang the title role of Don Giovanni there. He is currently at Zurich Opera on a fest contract. This spring, he makes his Munich Opera debut in a new production of Pelleas et Melisande.

A light moment (Photo: Joseph So)

There was a good crowd tonight at the Jane Mallett Theatre, with a large contingent of family and friends of the artist, based on the amount of cheering that erupted periodically throughout the concert. Madore began with Schumann's "song cycle" Liederkreis Op. 39. I put it in quotation marks because unlike other cycles, there's no true thematic thread running through the songs. The twelve songs are of course familiar to Lieder acifionados, particularly the exquisite Mondnacht and the ecstatic Fruhlingsnacht. Madore has a lovely lyric baritone with a recognizable timbre, even from top to bottom, capable of both power and nuance, with an impressive range, particularly an excellent top register. I can see why Pelleas is in his near future!  I look forward to hearing him make his Munich debut in this role during this year's Festival.  Tonight, he sang with a solid, virile, warm and ingratiating baritone that was a pleasure to the ear. He gave unstintingly, delivering some of the songs in near-operatic fashion. This is not to suggest he's an insensitive artist - far from it.  Throughout the song cycle, he gave the audience a full spectrum of dynamics. from solid fortes to lovely pianissimos. His attention to textual nuance was also impressive. One gets the feeling that this singer is extremely well schooled, with a solid technique, and abundant musicality. One can understand just from this cycle why he has managed to forge such an impressive career in a short time.

Baritone Elliot Madore and pianist Rachel Andrist (Photo: Joseph So)

After intermission, for a change of pace, he sang the five songs by Poulenc that makes up Banalites. I've heard this sung mostly by women for some reason, from Frederica von Stade to Canada's own Catherine Robbin. Madore sang well if occasionally a bit loudly in some of the songs, where a more half-voiced delivery would have been better, especially given the intimate size of Jane Mallett Theatre. The darkly humorous Hotel was given an appropriately languid delivery, however sans cigarette.  He ended the formal part of the recital with five Ives songs, all "chestnuts" for Ives fans - a mix of fun and seriousness. Tom Sails Away was beautifully delivered, as well as the difficult Ich grolle nicht, with text by Heine, interestingly also set by Schumann in Dicterliebe, here beautifully rendered by Madore, I also enjoyed the very last song, Memories, often heard as an encore by visiting divas. It's not an easy song to pull off by a male singer, and Madore sang it well. Following a vociferous reception by some members of the audience - deservedly so I might add - Madore rewarded them with two encores. First was the very familiar "Deh vieni alla finestra" or Don Giovanni's serenade to Zerlina. Then it was an ebullient rendition of the Drinking Song from Ravel's Don Quichotte a Dulcinee.  Madore did these two pieces full justice. Throughout, Rachel Andrist was the model collaborative pianist, totally supportive of the singer. It was a most enjoyable end to a cold and snowy "spring" day. 

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Monday, 23 March 2015

This Week in Montreal: March 23 to 29

Florian Heyerick

This Week in Montreal: March 23 to 29
At the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music
On March 26, the Big Band for Université de Montréal will present Le Big Band jazze avec le trompettiste Randy Brecker under the direction of Ron Di Lauro. 7:30 pm, salle Claude-Champagne.

Chants Libres – Chants du Capricorne
Composed in 1995, the performance opera Chants du Capricorne is a conception of soprano and producer Pauline Vaillancourt. In 1999, she received the prize contemporary music performer Flandres-Québec. Twenty years later, Chants Libres, take over her creation with mezzo-soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau. March 12, 13 and 14. Usine C.
Chants Libres also plan the 5th edition of its event Oper’Actuel Works in Progress, giving the public the opportunity to discover new trends and possibilities in contemporary opera. March 27 and 28. Maison de la culture Frontenac.
- Renée Banville

Chapelle Bon-Pasteur
In its series with composer in residence Jimmie LeBlanc, Chant d’amour et de mort is performed by mezzo soprano Kristin Hoff and pianist Sonia Wheaton-Dudley. The concert presents the first part of Olivier Messiaen’s Tristan Trilogy. March 29, 3:30 pm.
- Renée Banville

French School at Arion
Inaugurated in Paris in 1725, the Concert Spirituel was charged with presenting concerts that were not performed at the Opera to Parisian audiences. March 20, 21, 22 at Bourgie Hall. Invitation to Concert Spirituel wants to renew with old discoveries. With conductor and soloist Alexander Weimann and clarinettist Eric Hoeprich. Guest speaker: Lucie Renaud. On the program: Richter, Stamitz, Gossec.
- Renée Banville

OM: Stabat mater by Dvořák
Directed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Orchestre Metropolitain and the Chœur de l’OM propose a “musical pilgrimage“ with one of the Choral Masterpiece by Dvořák, Stabat Mater. The concert can count on a great cast of soloist: Layla Claire, soprano, Karen Gargill, mezzo-soprano, Brandon Jovanovitch, tenor, and John Relyea, bass. Maison symphonique, March 29, 3 pm.
- Justin Bernard

Bach to Idées heureuses
With April near, the Ensemble Les Idées heureuses, directed by Floria Heyerick, will present a concert for Bach cantatas series. Three cantatas on Palm Sunday and Easter will be performed. On the program: the BWV 4, 39 and 182, among them Christ lag in Todesbanden. Four soloists will join the orchestra: Agnes Zsigovics, soprano, Daniel Taylor, countertenor, Philippe Gagné, tenor, and Normand Richard, bass. Bourgie Hall, Musée des beaux-arts, March 29, 2 pm.
- Justin Bernard

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Cette semaine à Montréal : le 23 au 29 mars

Florian Heyerick

Cette semaine à Montréal : le 23 au 29 mars

Faculté de musique de l'Université de Montréal
Le jeudi 26 mars, le Big Band de l’Université de Montréal présentera Le Big Band jazze avec le trompettiste Randy Brecker sous la direction de Ron Di Lauro. 19h30, salle Claude-Champagne.

Chants Libres – Chants du Capricorne
Opéra performance créé en 1995, Chants du Capricorne est une conception de la soprano et ­metteure en scène Pauline Vaillancourt. Elle recevait le Prix d’interprète de musique contemporaine Flandres-Québec en 1999. Vingt ans plus tard, Chants Libres reprend cette œuvre. Avec la mezzo-soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau. Usine C, 12, 13, 14 mars.
Chants Libres organise une 5e édition de son évènement Oper’Actuel Works in progress qui permet au public de découvrir un éventail des nouvelles tendances et possibilités en opéra actuel. Maison de la culture Frontenac, 27 et 28 mars.
- Renée Banville

La rentrée à Bon-Pasteur
Évènement à noter dans la série du compositeur en résidence Jimmie LeBlanc, Chant d’amour et de mort présente la première partie de la Trilogie de Tristan d’Olivier Messiaen. Avec Kristin Hoff, mezzo-soprano, et Sonia Wheaton-Dudley, piano. 29 mars, 15 h 30            .
- Renée Banville

L’école française chez Arion
Inauguré à Paris en 1725, le Concert Spirituel était chargé de présenter au public parisien, jusqu’à la Révolution, des œuvres de qualité lorsque l’Opéra ne jouait pas. Invitation au Concert Spirituel veut renouer avec ces anciennes découvertes. Avec le chef et soliste Alexander Weimann et le clarinettiste Eric Hoeprich. Conférencière : Lucie Renaud. Au programme : Richter, Stamitz, Gossec. 20, 21, 22 mars, salle Bourgie.
- Renée Banville

OM : Stabat mater de Dvořák
Sous la direction de Yannick Nézet-Séguin, l’Orchestre Métropolitain et le Chœur de l’OM propose un « pèlerinage musical » avec l’une des grandes œuvres chorales de Dvořák, son Stabat Mater. Ce concert pourra compter sur une bonne distribution de solistes : Layla Claire, soprano, Karen Gargill, mezzo-soprano, Brandon Jovanovitch, ténor, et John Relyea, basse. Maison symphonique. 29 mars, 15 h.
- Justin Bernard

Bach aux Idées heureuses
À l’approche du mois d’avril, l’ensemble Les Idées heureuses, dirigé par Florian Heyerick, présentera un concert dans le cadre de la série sur l’intégrale des cantates de Bach. Trois cantates pour le dimanche des Rameaux et pour Pâques seront interprétées. Au programme, les BWV 4, 39 et 182, dont Christ lag in Todesbanden. Quatre solistes se joindront à l’orchestre : Agnes Zsigovics, soprano, Daniel Taylor, contre-ténor, Philippe Gagné, ténor, et Normand Richard, basse. Salle Bourgie du Musée des beaux-arts. 29 mars, 14 h.
- Justin Bernard

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This Week in Toronto (March 23 - 29)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the week of March 23 to 29

~ Joseph So

With spring break over, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is back in business with a very interesting program of pairing Stravinsky's groundbreaking The Rite of Spring with Dvorak's sublime Cello Concerto. This Dvorak piece, together with the Elgar, are for me the two desert island cello concertos - I never get tired of hearing either one. And to have the wonderful Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta here to play it is an occasion not to be missed. At the helm is the young and dynamic Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski. Performances March 27 and 28 7:30 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

Cellist Sol Gabetta (Photo:

Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski (Photo: Lena Knutli)

Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili and British pianist Paul Lewis team up for a joint recital at Koerner Hall on Friday March 27th 8 pm, playing works of Bach, Schubert, Telemann and Beethoven.   The two of them are on a NA tour that takes them to Philadelphia, Boston, Princeton New Jersey, New York as well as Toronto.

Violinist Batiashvili and pianist Paul Lewis at Koerner Hall

Among the crop of up and coming Canadian singers is Etobicoke native baritone Elliot Madore. He possess a warmly appealing lyric baritone, abundant musicality and attractive stage presence. He won the Met Auditions five years ago, and at the time I interviewed him for an article in La Scena Musicale -  Since then, he has gone on to an enviable international career, singing a very successful Don Giovanni in Glyndebourne and Lysander in the Met's The Enchanted Island. He is also making his Munich Opera debut this season as Pelleas in a new production of Pelleas et Melisande, which I will be seeing in July. He is giving a recital under the auspices of Music Toronto on Thursday March 26th 8 pm at Jane Mallett Theatre. The centerpiece is Schumann's Liederkreis, plus songs by Charles Ives and Poulenc.  Canadian pianist Rachel Andrist is at the keyboard. You can experience Mr. Madore in this video clip of his aria from The Enchanted Island.  For more information about the recital this week -

Baritone Elliot Madore

Mezzo Charlotte Burrage and baritone Clarence Frazer are both graduating from the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio this year. They are giving a joint noon hour recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on March 26th. Another chance to hear them will be the Ensemble Performance of The Barber of Seville on May 15th, with Charlotte as Rosina and Frazer as Figaro. The program in this noon hour concert includes songs by Schubert, Brahms and Mahler. Jennifer Szeto is the collaborative pianist.  Be sure to show up an hour early to ensure a seat. 

Mezzo Charlotte Burrage

The mandate of the Canadian Art Song Project, spearheaded by pianist Steven Philcox and tenor Lawrence Wiliford, is to promote Canadian classical songs. They will be giving a recital on Monday, March 24th 8 pm at Walter Hall on the campus of the University of Toronto. Tenor Wiliford, baritone Geoffrey Sirett, and soprano/comedienne Mary Lou Fallis will be presenting Humour, Play and the Canadian Art Song, a program that explores humour and play in contemporary Canadian vocal repertoire, including a new commission by composer/pianist Peter Tiefenbach. Pianist is Steven Philcox.

Soprano and Comedienne Mary Lou Fallis

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